Counts

RIDDIM

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Wouldn't the count off depend on the time signature? If you'd like to test this, try counting My Favorite Things or Take 5 in 4 some time and see what kind of reaction your bandmates exhibit.

You may want to run them through a metal detector first.
 

dyland

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If something is in 7 I'll usually count it off in 4 regardless. I'm not counting off the time so much as the tempo and the feel. 4 beats is usually long enough to communicate.
 

bassanddrum84

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I use 4 sometimes two depending how the song comes in. To me if I do 4 1234 we are coming in on a one if I do two it seems like coming in on a three?
 

jptrickster

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Most of the time I feel like the Sheppard that's lost his sheep .....who's not looking, who's not listening, who's tuning , who' s on the phone, who's daydreaming ,who's getting drunk..... might be 3 - 4 bar prelude and a tap on the shoulder untill I have there undivided attention then give them a 4 beat (or whatever the signature is) stick click with audible and head bobbing count in.......and a hail mary
 
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Malc

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Most of the time I feel like the Sheppard that's lost his sheep .....who's not looking, who's not listening, who's tuning , who' s on the phone, who's daydreaming ,who's getting drunk..... might be 3 - 4 bar prelude and a tap on the shoulder untill I have there undivided attention then give them a 4 beat (or whatever the signature is) stick click with audible and head bobbing count in.......and a hail mary
I've occasionally counted in at twice the required tempo to wake up certain band members doing exactly what you describe. It's fun to see who keeps up until they realise!
 

Dumpy

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I just find it bizarre that there are band leaders who are not drummers that specify the count in. The drummer is the conductor in many cases.
 

bassanddrum84

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I just find it bizarre that there are band leaders who are not drummers that specify the count in. The drummer is the conductor in many cases.
Omg this kills me. Specially when a guitar player comes in flying and then you come in and he says slow down. Like dude you set the tempo coming in. Ahhhh drives me nuts.
 

Nubs

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I was in a band once who thought that counting off a song to start it was amateur and Busch league. I'm no longer in that band.
 

dcrigger

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It all depends on the situation - and there are really lots of different possible situations...

With a small band with a set list that they know well doing a tight show - two counts might be plenty. Everyone is focused ad ready... they already pretty much know the tempo anyway.

Compared to a large ensemble - pulling up music - a full two bar count-off makes it clear that "We really are starting now"... time to get ready and also soak in the tempo (that most will be clueless about prior)

Compared to show with extremely quick tempo changes (be it a show with conductor or just an act) - where there's often no time for anything more than a visual downbeat (or rather an upbeat leading to a downbeat) - which can still communicate tons of info about the new tempo.

In my experience, there are no rules.... no one way... just what ever works for the situation.... will the band have an idea of the tempo - and more most importantly, will they know when to start playing.
 

dcrigger

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Wouldn't the count off depend on the time signature? If you'd like to test this, try counting My Favorite Things or Take 5 in 4 some time and see what kind of reaction your bandmates exhibit.

You may want to run them through a metal detector first.
In my experience, this is never a debate when it comes to counting off things in 3 or 4.... Though fast threes oftentimes getting counted off in "one" - 1 2 3 4 implying "1 2 3 uh uh 4 uh uh" like the fast 4 - "1 2 1 2 1 2 3 4"

But with odd meters - it really varies - especially as fast meters and longer meters get harder and more confusing to count.... I've had some bands stick with the meters.... others that just opt to count everything not in 3 - as 1 2 3 4. And others where it varied (always risking the "when do I come in" problem).

So something like Bulgarian Bulge in 33/8 I've always seen counted as "1 2 1 2 3 4"

With Take Five - if someone were to start counting in 1/4's - I would assume their going to count 1 2 3 4 5 Play..... Where if they start with a 1/2 note - then I'd assume "1 2 1 2 3 4 - Playin5" was the deal.

It just varies.
 

dcrigger

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I just find it bizarre that there are band leaders who are not drummers that specify the count in. The drummer is the conductor in many cases.
That hasn't been my experience at all - of course, in any work with a conductor or musician director, they do the count-offs. But also in years and years of playing weddings and casuals - the leader took that responsibility.

I get that it is the default choice for most bands without leaders per se - but in the overall scheme of things, the task isn't so much about "who's best at it, but rather who knows the music best or who's the one most responsible for the situation.

I can count on one hand the number of songwriters I've worked with (singer or player) that wanted anyone other then themselves to count off the tempo.

Anyway like so many things, it just varies.... but drummers not doing the count-off isn't anything within a million miles of being bizarre.
 

Dumpy

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That hasn't been my experience at all - of course, in any work with a conductor or musician director, they do the count-offs. But also in years and years of playing weddings and casuals - the leader took that responsibility.

I get that it is the default choice for most bands without leaders per se - but in the overall scheme of things, the task isn't so much about "who's best at it, but rather who knows the music best or who's the one most responsible for the situation.

I can count on one hand the number of songwriters I've worked with (singer or player) that wanted anyone other then themselves to count off the tempo.

Anyway like so many things, it just varies.... but drummers not doing the count-off isn't anything within a million miles of being bizarre.
Comparing your band experiences with many of our band experiences is nothing short of comparing apples to pomegranates. I mean ABSOLUTELY NO disrespect, Mr. Crigger.

Many of us here are professional hacks only in the purest sense of the word, meaning we get paid, just not much.

I should have clarified with my comment. My sister, who was a renowned (but not famous) orchestral clarinet player would certainly have piped up and said “the conductor counts it out”.

You have worked in truly professional situations. I get EXACTLY where you’re coming from. Just I merely spoke in terms of the typical bar grunts hoping we’re not asked to play “Freebird” or “Gimme Three Steps” with, in many cases, a band leader that knows less about music than we do! My sister played with Ray Charles, and HE counted it out. That man had all of his senses (except for one obvious one) even though he was older.

I truly appreciate your input and your insight.
 
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